Nearly 4,000 elementary and high school students from across Ontario gathered at Yonge-Dundas Square downtown on September. 20, 2012 for Freedom Day. The whole purpose of Freedom Day is to celebrate Canada’s rights and freedoms, commemorate the life and legacy of Simon Wiesenthal – a holocaust survivor who tracked down Nazis to be tried for war crimes, and to raise awareness about human rights and empower youth to effect positive change.
Check out one school’s perspective of Freedom Day 2012:
Our grade 8 class from St. Barbara Catholic Elementary school attended the Freedom Day celebration on Thursday September 20th, 2012 at Yonge and Dundas Square downtown. Freedom Day is a celebration of our freedom as Canadian citizens. It raises awareness about how fortunate we are to be a part of a country which holds social justice and tolerance as core values. As Simon Wiesenthal stated, “Freedom is not a gift from heaven; it is something that must be fought for everyday”. In preparation of this celebration, our class created many vibrant signs and posters that depicted freedom in many diverse forms such as, visuals and inspirational quotes. We brought these along with us to hold proudly above our heads in support of freedom for all.
Rick Campanelli hosted the Freedom Day festivities and announced different guests who spoke out about their own personal struggles and opinions on freedom. There were speeches, poetry and songs that were sang to get the message across. These speakers gave us empowering insight on how to be the positive change you want to see in life.
Our class took the TTC bus and subway as transportation to and from the festivities. One particular student in our class with a physical exceptionality travelled in her wheelchair. We stumbled across some obstacles with accessibility as there was a broken elevator in our path. We were able to support this student and safely get her across the platform. Our whole class was awaiting her arrival and when she did make it, we cheered for her to lift her spirit. This connects to freedom because we all worked as a team to ensure she felt included and participated in this event with little difficulty. If people did not fight for accessibility rights then should would not have been able to attend Freedom Day. We all learned that freedom is not to be taken for granted and should be appreciated every day.
— contributed by students of St. Barbara Catholic Elementary School
Clips from last year’s freedom day